Meadville Tribune


March 22, 2013

EDITORIAL: School board should support community group by continuing MARC funding

MEADVILLE — Crawford Central School District should act now to show its support for a grassroots effort to improve the Meadville Area Recreational Complex by reversing its decision to eliminate funding for the MARC starting July 1.

By continuing at minimum the current level of funding — about $200,000 a year down from $260,000 just a few years ago — the school board will quite literally buy the Community Advisory Team the time it needs to engage area residents in developing and implementing a new plan for the complex — a plan intended to generate more and new revenue.

We understand and respect the school board’s decision to cut and then eliminate MARC funding given the circumstances that existed when that decision was made. The district is facing significant reductions in state aid and must carefully justify each penny spent.

Since then, however, three significant factors have come into play that warrant revisiting the funding decision. One is fact that the MARC board has not, on its own, found a way to make up for the loss of funding, which raises the very real specter of the entire facility failing. Another is the early February public meeting called by the MARC board to solicit input. That meeting was attended by more than 200 people, which qualifies as a weighty show of support compared to the response other public bodies get when issuing similar calls. The third, and perhaps most significant, is the emergence of the Community Advisory Team. Its goal is to conduct a visioning process in an effort to ensure the MARC is aligned with community needs and to develop a plan that would change and improve MARC operations to generate more and new revenue. To be sure, this is more than a group of nice folks with good intentions. CAT members are among the best and brightest in our community, each rightfully described as very successful in the public and private spheres ranging in endeavors from medicine to manufacturing. Building a better, brighter, more financially secure future for the MARC is a complicated and involved task, but there is every reason to believe that the CAT has the expertise and experience to get the job done.

The hard work will be well worth the effort. As that process begins, we would do well to remember why the MARC exists and why literally millions of your dollars — through the taxes you pay to the school district and either Meadville, Vernon or West Mead townships — have been spent on the facility. Years ago, before many of us were born and when many others of us were very young, this community was haunted by the recurring tragedy of lives lost too soon. French Creek was about the only place kids could swim in the heat of the summer, and the creek is a dangerous place for even accomplished swimmers. As a result, drowning deaths were common. It was so bad that in the early 1970s the community rallied to build a facility that to this day is an unrivaled example of regional cooperation in our area. The MARC was built to save kids’ lives and swimming was made a part of Crawford Central School District’s curriculum. This was so important that the school district, Meadville and West Mead and Vernon townships all joined in ongoing financial support for the MARC.

Today, thank goodness, child drownings in French Creek are a rarity. The MARC is considered a community asset, one that many recruiters and realtors make a point of showing to clients, but it seems we’ve forgotten the real reason it exists. It has been so successful we’ve been given that luxury. We need to step back into the shoes of the Crawford Countians who came before us and try to understand the enormity of their concern by taking a new look at their response — the MARC. Are we ready to risk returning to the bad old days by jeopardizing the future of this facility? Are we ready to give up the massive investment of your money by jeopardizing the future of this facility?

We don’t think so, and the first step is having the school board stabilize the MARC’s finances while the CAT does its work.

It’s the responsible thing to do.

Text Only
  • Many veterans suffer PTSD, which needs to be dealt with

    Initially, I intended this article to be about PTSD “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” I wanted to write about the myths and misconceptions that those four words may hold. But as the days went by, the story just wouldn’t come together for me. Everything I typed seemed to miss something. There was no feeling.

    April 17, 2014

  • Journalists in combat zones ‘write with light’ while risking their lives

    I first heard the news on National Public Radio on my car radio. On April 4, the day before elections in Afghanistan, an Afghan military officer walked up to a car in a convoy and opened fire. Anja Niedringhaus, a staff photographer for The Associated Press, died instantly.

    April 16, 2014

  • There’s no war on men and boys — it’s quite the opposite

    Two weeks ago, Paul Dici submitted an column titled “It’s time to fight against the war on men and boys” (March 28). Mr. Dici would have us believe that men and boys are being “wussified” by a progressive agenda that may jeopardize our national security. Also, he makes the point that men and boys are not given the same advantages (programs) as women and girls.

    April 14, 2014

  • McCord outsourcing ‘scandal’ reminds me of Y2K fears

    With only seven weeks to go until the May primary election, the campaigns are expected to get a lot hotter and more negative.

    April 13, 2014

  • Can we trust luck when it comes to the nuclear industry?

    Let’s review the history to better understand a major concern of today.

    April 11, 2014

  • Aging — is it a disease to be cured?

    If you are already old, get ready for what comes next. If you are not old yet but on the way, it is not too early to start thinking about aging and dying, because both are part of being human.

    April 10, 2014

  • Local high school students help keep future of journalism bright

    Significant technological and economic changes have caused some to question the future of journalism, both as a viable business enterprise and as a potential career. But if the proceedings of the eighth annual Northwest Pennsylvania High School Journalism Day are any indication, journalism is alive and well, especially in Crawford County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Reps want to hang ‘English only’ sign at the Capitol

    Pennsylvania, it turns out, is one of 19 states that have failed to address the menace that is non-English. Or maybe it’s un-English? Or dis-English? There must be a word for it.

    April 8, 2014

  • The Arc: A welcoming community of support

    Let me give you some background about services that The Arc of Crawford, Warren and Forest counties provide to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These individuals are your neighbors, loved ones and family members.

    April 7, 2014 1 Story

  • Outside the Box: Gather information and weigh your options — but always go on your guts

    Years ago, I was working in my father’s home office. I grabbed a gold Cross pen to sign a letter. Hours later, my dad wanted to know where the pen was. He was insistent. What’s the big deal, I wondered.

    April 2, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide